Critical Skills Needs and Resources for the Changing Workforce. Keeping Skills Competitive

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1 A study by the Society for Human Resource Management and WSJ.com/ Careers Critical Skills Needs and Resources for the Changing Workforce Keeping Skills Competitive

2 Critical Skills Needs and Resources for the Changing Workforce A Study by the Society for Human Resource Management and WSJ.com/Careers June 2008 Contents About This Report...3 About SHRM....3 About WSJ.com/Careers...3 Introduction: Are Workers Keeping Up With Changing Skills Needs of Today s Workplace?...4 Methodology...5 Key Findings...6 Poll Results...8 Skills Needed for Today s Workplace...8 How Has the Importance of Various Employee Skills/Practices Changed in the Past Two Years? (HR Professionals)...8 How Has the Importance of Various Workplace Skills/Practices Changed in Your Career Field? (Employees) Measurement of Employee Skills (HR Professionals) Skills Training and/or Professional Development Offerings and Participation...17 Are Organizations Providing or Paying for Skills Training and/or Professional Development for Their Workforce? (HR Professionals)...18 What Percentage of Employees Has Participated in Skills Training or Professional Development? (HR Professionals) Training and Development Formats...21 What Training and Development Formats Are Offered by Employers? (HR Professionals)...21 How Frequently Are Various Skills Training and Development Formats Provided? (HR Professionals)...23 How Effective Are Various Skills Training Formats? (Employees)

3 What Various Skills Training Formats Do Employees Prefer? (Employees)...27 Skills Sharpening Resources (Employees)...28 Perceptions of Skill Levels (HR Professionals)...30 Conclusions...32 Demographics...33 Appendix...35 Recently Published SHRM Survey Products....38

4 About This Report In December 2007, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and WSJ.com/Careers, the free career channel from WSJ.com, jointly conducted the SHRM/WSJ.com/Careers Employee Skills Poll to gauge the effectiveness of various retention strategies from the perspectives of both human resource (HR) professionals and employees. HR professionals responses regarding skills training and professional development offered through their organizations are compared with employee responses regarding effectiveness of and preference for various skills training and education formats to show the extent to which organizations are providing training and education opportunities that meet employees needs. About SHRM The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world s largest professional association devoted to human resource management. Our mission is to serve the needs of HR professionals by providing the most current and comprehensive resources and to advance the profession by promoting HR s essential, strategic role. Founded in 1948, SHRM represents more than 225,000 individual members in over 125 countries and has a network of more than 575 affiliated chapters in the United States, as well as offices in China and India. Visit SHRM at About WSJ.com/Careers CareerJournal section of WSJ.com is free of charge and features expanded career content, including videos, slideshows, top-tier job listings and tools for recruiters and employers. 3

5 Introduction Are Workers Keeping Up With the Changing Skills Needs of Today s Workplace? Staffing management and labor sourcing activities are commonly a challenge for organizations and HR professionals and become particularly cumbersome during times of skilled talent shortages. The issue of skills shortages in the available labor pool appears to be growing. In fact, according to a recent SHRM poll, 58% of HR professionals reported that some workers lack competencies needed to perform their jobs, up from 54% in Further, more than one-half of HR professionals (55%) who responded to the poll agreed that workers entering the job market in the next 10 years will lack the competencies that will make them successful in the workplace. While the inadequate workforce readiness of recent graduates is well noted and there has been much discussion around improving the education system s preparation of future entrants to the labor pool, it has rightly been argued that employers need strategies to deal with the talent shortage in the short term. 2 A solution with an immediate benefit to today s workplace and the economy is a focus on building capabilities and the development of skills and competencies within the current workforce. The workplace of today is changing, and workers skill sets must keep pace with employers expectations. The workplace of today is changing, and workers skill sets must keep pace with employers expectations. What skills, activities and content areas are important to organizations, and how do skill requirements differ for workers of various experience levels? A comprehensive understanding of skills needs and the resources that are available to workers to develop competencies can help guide HR professionals in implementing skills training and professional development programs that provide a short-term solution to ensure an adequately skilled workforce today as well as a longterm vision to address anticipated skills needs. 4

6 Methodology Both versions of the poll were developed by the SHRM Survey Program and WSJ.com/Careers. 3 SHRM staff with expertise in HR and workforce readiness issues also provided valuable insight and recommendations for the instruments. For comparison purposes, employees and HR professionals received similar questions. HR Professional Sample The HR professional sample was randomly selected from SHRM s membership database, which at the time included approximately 225,000 individual HR professional members. Only members who had not participated in a SHRM survey or poll in approximately the last six months were included in the sampling frame. Members who were students, consultants, academics, located internationally and who had no address on file were excluded from the sampling frame. In December 2007, an that included a link to the SHRM/WSJ.com/Careers Employee Skills Poll was sent to 3,000 randomly selected SHRM members. Of these, 2,757 s were successfully delivered, and 407 HR professionals responded, yielding a response rate of 15%. The survey was online for a period of three weeks, and four reminders were sent to nonrespondents in an effort to increase response rates. Employee Sample A similar poll was completed by 334 employees. The employee data were gathered from a convenience sample of visitors to the WSJ.com/Careers web site the online poll was given to every fourth visitor of the site. WSJ.com/Careers visitors tend to be executivelevel professionals who are both active and passive job seekers. Readers are encouraged to proceed with caution when generalizing these results to all employees. 5

7 Key Findings HR professionals were asked if specific skills and behaviors, such as adaptability, creativity, diversity, ethics, lifelong learning, health and wellness choices, etc., were more important for new entrants to the workforce 4 and employees with more than one year of work experience (experienced workers) today compared with two years ago. Overall, workplace skills were more frequently reported as much more important today for experienced workers than for new entrants to the workforce. Overall, employers placed the greatest weight on employee adaptability and critical thinking skills. HR professionals and employees both reported that adaptability/ flexibility and critical thinking/problem-solving skills were of greatest importance now compared with two years ago. Poll results indicate that the perceived reputation of the diploma or certificationgranting institution attended by employees matters. Nearly two-thirds of HR professionals reported that the skill levels of workers from highly reputable colleges or universities differed from the skill levels of workers from other colleges or universities. How are employee skills gaps determined? Manager/supervisor observations and feedback through performance evaluations were the most prevalent means for measuring employee skills and/or professional development deficiencies by most organizations. HR professionals and employees both reported that adaptability/ flexibility and critical thinking/ problem-solving skills were of greatest importance now compared with two years ago. Although fewer than one out of 10 organizations did not provide or pay for skills training or professional development for their U.S. workforce, small-staff-sized organizations were even less likely to do so. Overall, about one-half or less of employees at various career phases have participated in skills training, according to HR professionals. Employee skills training is provided by organizations in a variety of formats. Organizations mostly offered skills training through instructor-led workshops, on-thejob training and continuing education courses. By contrast, the largest percentages of employees rated on-the-job training, coaching or mentoring and university or college courses as very effective skills training formats. 6

8 More organizations are relying on e-learning to train their workforce. One-half of HR professionals reported that their organizations offered skills training through online tutorials and guided programs more frequently now than two years ago, yet only one-third of employees reported an increased preference for this skills training format now compared with two years ago. Employees reported a variety of resources for keeping their skills sharp, most frequently citing career advice sections of news/lifestyle web sites and industry-specific resources. 7

9 Poll Results Skills Needed for Today s Workplace Employers often feel workforce readiness deficiencies as talent shortages, particularly when it comes to locating candidates with the necessary skills. According to the executive summary report of the SHRM 2007 Symposium on the Workforce Readiness of the Future U.S. Labor Pool, employers have not clearly stated the skills and capabilities they desire, and the U.S. educational system is not producing the quan tity and quality of graduates needed. 5 Understanding what employers need is imperative for making useful recommendations for changes to U.S. education policy and curriculum in order to produce graduates that are well equipped for the workplace. What, then, are the skills, activities and content areas that are most urgently needed in the workplace today? Do beliefs about the workplace skills, activities and content areas that are most important differ between HR professionals and employees themselves? How Has the Importance of Various Employee Skills/Practices Changed in the Past Two Years? (HR Professionals) nn As shown in Figure 1, the top skills rated as much more important today compared with two years ago for both experienced workers and new entrants to the workforce were adaptability/flexibility (47% and 46%, respectively) and critical thinking/ problem solving (41% and 35%, respectively). nn Other top-rated skills for experienced workers were leadership (37%), professionalism/work ethic (37%) and teamwork/collaboration (35%). nn For new entrants to the workforce, other top-rated skills were professionalism/work ethic (31%), information technology application (30%), teamwork/collaboration (26%) and diversity (26%). nn For experienced workers, the least important skill was mathematics (7%), and for new entrants to the workforce it was entrepreneurship (4%), according to HR professionals. 8

10 Figure 1 how Important Are Various Skills/Practices for Experienced Workers and New Entrants to the Workforce Today Compared With Two Years Ago? (HR Professionals) Adaptability/flexibility Critical thinking/problem solving Leadership Professionalism/work ethic Teamwork/collaboration Information technology application Creativity/innovation Diversity Written communications (conveying written messages clearly and effectively) Ethics/social responsibility Lifelong learning pursuit/self-direction Oral communications Health and wellness choices Writing in English (grammar, spelling, etc.) Reading comprehension (in English) Understanding of globalization English language (spoken) Personal financial responsibility Civic/community participation Global economics Entrepreneurship Foreign languages Mathematics 47% 46% 41% 35% 37% 20% 37% 31% 35% 26% 33% 30% 31% 25% 29% 26% 28% 24% 24% 20% 24% 15% 24% 21% 23% 21% 20% 18% 19% 19% 16% 11% 13% 14% 13% 8% 11% 7% 11% 10% 10% 4% 8% 10% 7% 6% n Experienced workers n New entrants to the workforce (n = 407) Note: Data sorted in descending order by experienced workers data. Figure represents those who answered much more important now. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = much less important now and 5 = much more important now. Excludes HR professionals who responded not applicable to these items. Percentages do not total 100% due to multiple response options. 9

11 nn On average, HR professionals reported increased importance of skills/practices today compared with two years ago (Table 1). nn HR professionals reported the greatest average importance of adaptability/flexibility and critical thinking/problem solving now compared with two years ago for both new entrants to the workforce and experienced workers. nn HR professionals indicated greater average importance of foreign language skills for new entrants to the workforce than for experienced workers. nn Compared with their counterparts from medium-staff-sized organizations, HR professionals from large-staff-sized organizations reported greater average degrees of importance for ethics and social responsibility skills for new entrants to the workforce now compared with two years ago. 6 nn HR professionals from government agencies, compared with those from privately owned for-profit and nonprofit organizations, reported greater average degrees of importance for ethics and social responsibility skills for new entrants to the workforce now compared with two years ago. 7 Table 1 Comparison of Various Skills/Practices Today Compared With Two Years Ago by Worker Experience Level (HR Professionals) Differences by Worker Experience Level Adaptability/flexibility Critical thinking/problem solving Teamwork/collaboration Leadership Information technology application Professionalism/work ethic Creativity/innovation Written communications (conveying written messages clearly and effectively) Ethics/social responsibility Oral communications Lifelong learning pursuit/self-direction Understanding of globalization Civic/community participation English language (spoken) Personal financial responsibility Global economics Foreign languages Entrepreneurship Experienced workers > new entrants Experienced workers > new entrants Experienced workers > new entrants Experienced workers > new entrants Experienced workers > new entrants Experienced workers > new entrants Experienced workers > new entrants Experienced workers > new entrants Experienced workers > new entrants Experienced workers > new entrants Experienced workers > new entrants Experienced workers > new entrants Experienced workers > new entrants Experienced workers > new entrants Experienced workers > new entrants Experienced workers > new entrants New entrants > experienced workers Experienced workers > new entrants Note: Excludes HR professionals who responded not applicable to these items. Analysis based on the average level of importance for skills/practices now compared with two years ago. Only response options with statistically significant comparisons are included in this table. 10

12 How Has the Importance of Various Workplace Skills/Practices Changed in Your Career Field? (Employees) nn Figure 2 illustrates the percentages of employees who rated various workplace skills/ practices as much more important in their career fields today compared with two years ago. Nearly two-thirds of employees (60%) reported that adaptability/flexibility is currently much more important in their career fields compared with two years ago. Other top-rated skills included critical thinking/problem solving (48%), creativity/ innovation (40%) and leadership (40%). The smallest percentages of employees rated foreign languages (17%), civic/ nn community participation (14%) and mathematics (12%) as much more important today compared with two years ago. 11

13 Figure 2 how Important Are Various Skills/Practices in Your Career Field Today Compared With Two Years Ago? (Employees) Adaptability/flexibility 60% Critical thinking/problem solving 48% Creativity/innovation 40% Leadership 40% Teamwork/collaboration 37% Written communications (conveying written messages clearly and effectively) 36% Lifelong learning pursuit/self-direction 35% Information technology application 34% Oral communications 34% Professionalism/work ethic 33% Understanding of globalization 29% Ethics/social responsibility 27% Diversity 26% English language (spoken) 26% Global economics 25% Reading comprehension (in English) 25% Writing in English (grammar, spelling, etc.) 25% Personal financial responsibility 22% Entrepreneurship 22% Health and wellness choices 21% Foreign languages 17% Civic/community participation 14% Mathematics 12% (n = 317) Note: Data sorted in descending order. Figure represents those who answered much more important now. Excludes employees who have less than two years of professional experience and those who responded not applicable, have not needed these skills to these items. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = much less important now and 5 = much more important now. Percentages do not total 100% due to multiple response options. 12

14 nn Women workers were more likely than their male counterparts to report that a number of workplace skills/practices are currently much more important compared with two years ago. These included critical thinking/problem solving, creativity/ innovation, leadership, teamwork/collaboration, written communications, lifelong learning pursuit/self-direction, information technology application, oral communications, ethics/social responsibility, diversity, English language (spoken), writing in English and personal financial responsibility (Table 2). Women may be feeling more pressure to increase their workplace skill sets due to stepped-up competition for jobs and advancement opportunities in a tightening economy. Table 2 how Important Are Various Skills/Practices in Your Career Field Today Compared With Two Years Ago? (Employees, by Gender) Overall (n = 317) Women (n = 127) Men (n = 190) Differences by Gender Critical thinking/problem solving 48% 59% 43% Women > men Creativity/innovation 40% 52% 34% Women > men Leadership 40% 47% 36% Women > men Teamwork/collaboration 37% 47% 32% Women > men Written communications (conveying written messages clearly and effectively) 36% 51% 28% Women > men Lifelong learning pursuit/self-direction 35% 45% 30% Women > men Information technology application 34% 44% 28% Women > men Oral communications 34% 44% 28% Women > men Ethics/social responsibility 27% 34% 24% Women > men Diversity 26% 37% 20% Women > men English language (spoken) 26% 34% 23% Women > men Writing in English (grammar, spelling, etc.) 25% 32% 22% Women > men Personal financial responsibility 22% 31% 17% Women > men Note: Data sorted in descending order by overall column. Table represents those who answered much more important now. Excludes employees who have less than two years of professional experience and those who responded not applicable, have not needed these skills to these items. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = much less important now and 5 = much more important now. Sample sizes are based on the actual number of respondents answering the gender question; however, the percentages shown are based on the actual number of respondents by gender who answered the questions using the provided response options. Only response options with statistically significant comparisons are included in this table. 13

15 nn Table 3 shows that compared with employees in middle management positions, employees in nonmanagement positions were more likely to report that professionalism/work ethics, writing in English and personal financial responsibility were much more important today compared with two years ago. Table 3 How Important Are Various Skills/Practices in Your Career Field Today Compared With Two Years Ago? (Employees, by Position Level) Overall (n = 317) Executive Level (n = 37) Middle Management (n = 180) Nonmanagement (n = 100) Differences by Position Level Professionalism/work ethic 33% 37% 28% 43% Nonmanagement > middle management Writing in English (grammar, spelling, etc.) 25% 24% 21% 35% Nonmanagement > middle management Personal financial responsibility 22% 29% 16% 32% Nonmanagement > middle management Note: Data sorted in descending order by overall column. Table represents those who answered much more important now. Excludes employees who have less than two years of professional experience and those who responded not applicable, have not needed these skills to these items. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = much less important now and 5 = much more important now. Sample sizes are based on the actual number of respondents answering the position level question; however, the percentages shown are based on the actual number of respondents by position level who answered the questions using the provided response options. Only response options with statistically significant comparisons are included in this table. 14

16 Measurement of Employee Skills Skills deficiencies among new entrants to the workforce both high school and college/university graduates have been widely reported in the media and in workplace research. 8 But what methods do employers use to identify employee skills and professional development needs? nn The vast majority of organizations (96%) gauge their employees skills and/or professional development needs using at least one measurement method. Respondents from small-staff-sized organizations (12%) were more likely than their counterparts from medium-staff-sized organizations (4%) to report that their organizations did not measure employees skills and/or professional development needs. 9 nn Among organizations that measured their employees skills and/or professional development deficiencies, the largest percentages of HR professionals indicated that skills and developmental deficiencies were measured through job performance evaluations (80%) and supervisor/manager observations (78%). Slightly more than one out of 10 HR professionals (11%) reported that their organization had no set process for measuring employee skills and/or professional development deficiencies. These data are illustrated in Figure 3. Figure 3 how Do Organizations Measure Employee Skills and Professional Development Deficiencies? (HR Professionals) Job performance evaluations 80% Supervisor/manager observation 78% Employees evaluate their own skills and development and identify areas for improvement 44% Individual skills assessments (i.e., tests) 22% On-the-job interviews 12% No set process 11% Team skills gap analysis 10% (n = 387) Note: Data sorted in descending order. Excludes HR professionals who responded not applicable, my organization does not measure employees skills and/or professional development needs. Percentages do not total 100% due to multiple response options. 15

17 nn HR professionals from large-staff-sized organizations were more likely than those from small-staff-sized organizations to report using job performance evaluations (86% compared with 70%) and team skills gap analysis (16% compared with 2%) to measure employees skills and professional development deficiencies (Table 4). nn Small-staff-sized organizations (23%) and medium-staff-sized organizations (12%) were more likely than large-staff-sized organizations (3%) to report that they had no set process for measuring employee skills. Table 4 How Do Organizations Measure Employees Skills and Professional Development Deficiencies? (HR Professionals, by Organization Staff Size) Overall (n = 387) Small (1 to 99 Employees) (n = 66) Medium Large (100 to 499 Employees) (500 or More Employees) (n = 137) (n = 102) Differences By Organization Staff Size Job performance evaluations (i.e., using performance metrics) 80% 70% 80% 86% Large > small No set process 11% 23% 12% 3% Small, medium > large Team skills gap analysis 10% 2% 7% 16% Large > small Note: Data sorted in descending order by overall column. Excludes HR professionals who responded not applicable, my organization does not measure employees skills and/ or professional development needs. Percentages do not total 100% due to multiple response options. Sample sizes are based on the actual number of respondents answering the organization staff size question; however, the percentages shown are based on the actual number of respondents by organization staff size who answered the questions using the provided response options. Only response options with statistically significant comparisons are included in this table. nn As noted in Table 5, nonprofit organizations (90%) were more likely than their counterparts at government agencies (65%) to report that employee skills and professional development deficiencies were measured through supervisor/manager observation. nn Compared with privately owned for-profit organizations (6%), publicly owned for- profit organizations (18%) were more likely to report measuring employee skills and professional development needs through team skills gap analysis. Table 5 How Do Organizations Measure Employees Skills and Professional Development Deficiencies? (HR Professionals, by Organization Sector) Overall (n = 387) Publicly Owned For-Profit (n = 80) Privately Owned For-Profit (n = 143) Nonprofit (n = 49) Government (n = 31) Differences by Organization Sector Supervisor/manager observation 78% 83% 78% 90% 65% Nonprofit > government Team skills gap analysis 10% 18% 6% 6% 10% Publicly owned for-profit > privately owned for-profit Note: Data sorted in descending order by overall column. Excludes HR professionals who responded not applicable, my organization does not measure employees skills and/or professional development needs. Sample sizes are based on the actual number of respondents answering the organization sector question; however, the percentages shown are based on the actual number of respondents by organization sector who answered the questions using the provided response options. Only response options with statistically significant comparisons are included in this table. 16

18 Skills Training and/or Professional Development Offerings and Participation While there has been much concern about remedying skills deficiencies among new entrants to the workforce, continuous learning and skills training are crucial to sustaining workforce readiness among employees of all experience levels. In addition to addressing skills gaps, training and professional development programs can help workers prepare for emerging skills needs in the workplace as well as to transition skills sets for workers who are embarking on new career paths or stepping up to increased responsibilities. This is especially critical for organizations succession planning efforts and growing talent from within, 10 a strategy that may be even more important for smaller organizations with fewer resources to attract top candidates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, increasingly, management recognizes that training offers a way of developing skills, enhancing productivity and quality of work, and building worker loyalty to the firm, and most importantly, increasing individual and organizational performance to achieve business results. Training is widely accepted as an employee benefit and a method of improving employee morale, and enhancing employee skills has become a business imperative. Increasingly, managers and leaders realize that the key to business growth and success is through developing the skills and knowledge of its workforce. 11 Moreover, some states are supporting the link between workforce readiness and business success by earmarking funds for employer grants to develop job training programs. What are organizations doing to provide and promote skills training and professional development opportunities? 17

19 Are Organizations Providing or Paying for Skills Training and/or Professional Development for Their Workforce? (HR Professionals) nn Figure 4 illustrates the percentages of organizations that provide or pay for employee skills and/or professional development training for their U.S.-based and international workers. Nearly one-half of HR professionals (44%) reported that their organizations provided or paid for skills training and/or professional development for their U.S. workforce. Fewer organizations with international locations (34%) indicated offering training and/or development to all workers. nn Slightly more than two out of five HR professionals (41%) indicated that their organizations provided or paid for skills training and/or professional development for U.S. employees who seek training. nn Government agencies were more likely than publicly owned for-profit organizations to report that their organizations did not provide or pay for skills training and/or professional development for their internationally located workers. Figure 4 do Organizations Provide or Pay for Employee Skills and/or Professional Development Training for Their Workforce? (HR Professionals) Yes, to all workers 34% 44% Yes, to workers who seek skills training and/or professional development 32% 41% Yes, to workers with identified skills and/or professional development deficiencies 25% 28% No, my organization does not provide or pay for skills training and/or professional development for its workforce 9% 16% Other 4% 12% n U.S. workforce (n = 405) n International workforce (n = 115) Note: Data sorted in descending order by U.S. data. International workforce data represents those who answered that their organizations have international locations. Percentages do not total 100% due to multiple response options. 18

20 nn Table 6 shows that compared with small-staff-sized organizations (16%), large-staff- sized organizations (32%) were more likely to report that their organizations provided or paid for skills training and/or professional development for workers with identified skills and/or professional development deficiencies. nn In addition, HR respondents from small-staff-sized organizations (19%) were more likely than those from large-staff-sized organizations (4%) to report that their organizations did not provide or pay for skills training and/or professional development for their U.S. workforce. Table 6 Do Organizations Provide or Pay for Employee Skills and/or Professional Development Training for Their U.S. Workforce? (HR Professionals, by Organization Staff Size) Overall (n = 405) Small (1 to 99 Employees) (n = 75) Medium (100 to 499 Employees) (n = 142) Large (500 or More Employees) (n = 102) Differences by Organization Staff Size Yes, to workers with identified skills and/or professional development deficiencies No, the organization does not provide or pay for skills training and/or professional development for its U.S. workforce 25% 16% 25% 32% Large > small 9% 19% 11% 4% Small > large Note: Data sorted in descending order by overall column. Sample sizes are based on the actual number of respondents answering the organization staff size question; however, the percentages shown are based on the actual number of respondents by organization staff size who answered the questions using the provided response options. Only response options with statistically significant comparisons are included in this table. nn More than one-third of publicly owned for-profit organizations (39%) provide or pay for employee skills and/or professional development training for their U.S. workforce, compared with less than one-quarter of privately owned for-profit organizations (23%) and just 13% of government agencies that do so (Table 7). Table 7 Do Organizations Provide or Pay for Employee Skills and/or Professional Development Training for Their U.S. Workforce? (HR Professionals, by Organization Sector) Overall (n = 405) Publicly Owned For-Profit (n = 84) Privately Owned For-Profit (n = 152) Nonprofit (n = 50) Government (n = 31) Differences by Organization Sector Yes, to workers with identified skills and/or professional development deficiencies 25% 39% 23% 18% 13% Publicly owned for-profit > privately owned for-profit, government Note: Excludes HR professionals from other organization sectors. Sample sizes are based on the actual number of respondents answering the organization sector question; however, the percentages shown are based on the actual number of respondents by organization sector who answered the questions using the provided response options. Only response options with statistically significant comparisons are included in this table. 19

21 What Percentage of Employees Has Participated in Skills Training or Professional Development? (HR Professionals) According to HR professionals, the percentages of employees at each career phase who had participated in skills training and/or professional development decreased slightly as years of experience increased (Figure 5). Although organizations reported that an average of about one-half of new entrants to the workforce (51%), early-career workers (49%) and mid-career workers (48%) had participated in skills training and professional development, just 41% of organizations late-career workers, on average, had participated in skills training and/or professional development. Workers with fewer years of experience may be more likely to actively seek new skills or developmental opportunities to prepare for career field transitions or to increase their advancement potential within their current career tracks. Figure 5 What Percentage of Organizations U.S. Workforce at Each Employee Career Phase Has Participated in Skills Training and/or Professional Development? (HR Professionals) 51% 49% 48% 41% New entrants to the workforce (less than 1 year of experience) Early-career workers (1-5 years of professional experience) Mid-career workers (6-19 years of professional experience) Late-career workers (20+ years of professional experience) (n = 371) Note: Excludes HR professionals from organizations that do not provide or pay for skills training or professional development for their U.S. workforce. Percentages shown reflect the average percentage of each employee career phase within organizations U.S. workforce that has participated in skills training and/or professional development. 20

22 Training and Development Formats As workplace skills have evolved to accommodate new technology, so has technology contributed to an expansion of the formats available for skills training and professional development. Which formats are most frequently provided or paid for by employers, how effective are these programs and are they meeting employees needs and expectations? What Training and Development Formats Are Offered by Employers? (HR Professionals) nn The top three formats in which skills training and/or professional development were provided or paid for as an employee benefit were instructor-led workshops or courses (83%), on-the-job training (82%) and continuing education courses (80%), with at least four out of five organizations offering training and development in this format. These data are shown in Figure 6. nn The smallest percentage of organizations (32%) reported providing or paying for distance learning as a format for employee skills training and/or professional development. Figure 6 What Format of Skills Training and/or Professional Development Is Provided or Paid for as an Employee Benefit? (HR Professionals) Instructor-led workshops or courses 83% On-the-job training 82% Continuing education courses 80% Coaching or mentoring 65% Online tutorials and guided programs 65% University or college courses 63% Printed materials 59% Distance learning 32% Other 4% (n = 321) Note: Excludes HR professionals from organizations that do not provide or pay for skills training or professional development for their U.S. workforce. Percentages do not total 100% due to multiple response options. 21

23 nn Large-staff-sized organizations were more likely than small-staff-sized organizations to report that on-the-job training (88% compared with 72%, respectively) and coaching or mentoring (72% compared with 51%, respectively) were provided or paid for as an employee benefit. These data are shown in Table 8. nn Medium-staff-sized organizations (87%) were more likely than large-staff-sized organizations (71%) to indicate that continuing education courses were provided or paid for as an employee benefit. Table 8 What Format of Skills Training and/or Professional Development Is Provided or Paid for as an Employee Benefit? (HR Professionals, by Organization Staff Size) Overall (n = 321) Small (1 to 99 Employees) (n = 61) Medium (100 to 499 Employees) (n = 126) Large (500 or More Employees) (n = 98) Differences by Organization Staff Size On-the-job training 82% 72% 82% 88% Large > small Continuing education courses 80% 77% 87% 71% Medium > large Coaching or mentoring 65% 51% 67% 72% Large > small Note: Data sorted in descending order by overall column. Excludes HR professionals from organizations that do not provide or pay for skills training or professional development for their U.S. workforce. Sample sizes are based on the actual number of respondents answering the organization staff size question; however, the percentages shown are based on the actual number of respondents by organization staff size who answered the questions using the provided response options. Only response options with statistically significant comparisons are included in this table. 22

24 How Frequently Are Various Skills Training and Development Formats Provided? (HR Professionals) nn As shown in Figure 7, HR professionals reported that the top two formats in which skills training and/or professional development were provided/paid for more frequently today compared with two years ago were online tutorials and guided programs (50%) and coaching and mentoring (40%). nn There were differences by organization staff size in the frequency of providing skills training or professional development training in a coaching or mentoring format. HR professionals from large-staff-sized organizations (49%) were more likely than those from medium-staff-sized organizations (31%) to report that skills training and/ or professional development were provided in a coaching or mentoring format more frequently now compared with two years ago. 12 Figure 7 training Formats Used More Frequently Today Than Two Years Ago (HR Professionals) Online tutorials and guided programs 50% Coaching or mentoring 40% Instructor-led workshops or courses 31% On-the-job training 29% Distance learning 28% University or college courses 25% Continuing education courses 24% Printed materials 20% Other 12% (n = 371) Note: Data sorted in descending order. Figure represents those who answered more frequently than two years ago. Percentages are based on a scale were 1 = less frequently than two years ago and 3 = more frequently than two years ago. Excludes HR professionals from organizations that do not provide or pay for skills training or professional development for their U.S. workforce and those who responded not applicable, did not provide skills training or professional development in this format two years ago to these items. Percentages do not total 100% due to multiple response options. 23

25 How Effective Are Various Skills Training Formats? (Employees) nn As depicted in Figure 8, the largest percentage of employees (69%) reported on-the- job training as a very effective skills training format. nn More than one-half of employees (52%) indicated that coaching or mentoring is very effective. nn The smallest percentage of employees (17%) reported distance learning skills training as very effective. nn Compared with employees from large-staff-sized organizations, employees from small-staff-sized organizations provided greater average effectiveness ratings to the continuing education course training format. 13 Figure 8 how Effective Are Various Skills Training Formats? (Employees) On-the-job training 69% Coaching or mentoring 52% University or college courses 43% Instructor-led workshops or courses 42% Continuing education courses 37% Printed materials 22% Online tutorials and guided programs 19% Distance learning 17% (n = 224) Note: Figure represents those who answered very effective. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = not at all effective and 4 = very effective. Excludes employees who have not participated in skills training through their current employers and those who responded not sure to these items. Percentages do not total 100% due to multiple response options. 24

26 nn Greater percentages of early-career employees (73%), compared with late-career employees (50%) or mid-career employees (45%), rated coaching or mentoring as a very effective training format (Table 9). nn Compared with workers in the middle of their careers (8%), larger percentages of employees early (28%) and late (25%) in their careers rated online tutorials and guided programs as a very effective skills training format. Table 9 How Effective Are Various Skills Training Formats? (Employees, by Career Phase) Overall (n = 224) Early-Career Worker (1 5 Years of Experience) (n = 38) Mid-Career Worker (6 19 Years of Experience) (n = 82) Late-career Worker (20+ Years of Experience) (n = 102) Differences by Career Phase Coaching or mentoring 52% 73% 45% 50% Early-career > mid-career, late-career Online tutorials and guided programs 19% 28% 8% 25% Early-career > mid-career Late-career > mid-career Note: Data sorted in descending order by overall column. Table represents those who answered very effective. Excludes employees who have not participated in skills training through their current employers, those with less than one year of experience and those who responded not sure to these items. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = not at all effective and 4 = very effective. Sample sizes are based on the actual number of respondents answering the years of experience question; however, the percentages shown are based on the actual number of respondents by career phase who answered the questions using the provided response options. Only response options with statistically significant comparisons are included in this table. nn As shown in Table 10, nonmanagement workers (82% and 67%, respectively) were more likely than their counterparts in executive-level positions (50% and 32%, respectively) to report that on-the-job training and coaching or mentoring were very effective skills training formats. Table 10 How Effective Are Various Skills Training Formats? (Employees, by Position Level) Overall (n = 224) Executive Level (n = 26) Middle Management (n = 132) Nonmanagement (n = 66) Differences by Position Level On-the-job training 69% 50% 66% 82% Nonmanagement > executive level Coaching or mentoring 52% 32% 48% 67% Nonmanagement > executive level Note: Data sorted in descending order by overall column. Table represents those who answered very effective. Excludes employees who have not participated in skills training through their current employers and those who responded not sure to these items. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = not at all effective and 4 = very effective. Sample sizes are based on the actual number of respondents answering the position level question; however, the percentages shown are based on the actual number of respondents by position level who answered the questions using the provided response options. Only response options with statistically significant comparisons are included in this table. 25

27 nn Gender had an impact on perceptions of effectiveness of various skills training formats, with women workers more likely than their male counterparts to rate formats as very effective. These data are summarized in Table 11. As noted earlier, women were more likely than men to rate lifelong learning pursuit/self-direction as a very important workplace skill/behavior, and thus they may also be more likely to be receptive to adult learning experiences in a wider array of formats compared with male employees. nn The largest percentages of women and men both rated on-the-job training as very effective. nn Employees aged 35 or younger (77%) were more likely than those aged 55 and older (53%) to report that on-the-job training was a very effective skills training format. 14 Table 11 How Effective Are Various Skills Training Formats? (Employees, by Gender) Overall (n = 224) Women (n = 91) Men (n = 133) Differences by Gender On-the-job training 69% 79% 62% Women > men Instructor-led workshops or courses 42% 58% 31% Women > men Continuing education courses 37% 48% 29% Women > men Printed materials 22% 29% 17% Women > men Online tutorials and guided programs 19% 27% 14% Women > men Distance learning 17% 25% 12% Women > men Note: Data sorted in descending order by overall column. Table represents those who answered very effective. Excludes employees who have not participated in skills training through their current employers and those who responded not sure to these items. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = not at all effective and 4 = very effective. Sample sizes are based on the actual number of respondents answering the gender question; however, the percentages shown are based on the actual number of respondents by gender who answered the questions using the provided response options. Only response options with statistically significant comparisons are included in this table. 26

28 What Various Skills Training Formats Do Employees Prefer? (Employees) nn Figure 9 illustrates increased employee preference for various training and/or education formats now compared with two years ago. Overall, employees rated coaching or mentoring as the training/education format for which they have the greatest increased preference now compared with two years ago. nn Printed materials had the lowest increased preference now compared with two years ago. Figure 9 Various Training and/or Education Formats Preferred More Today Compared With Two Years Ago (Employees) Coaching or mentoring 50% On-the-job training 44% University or college courses 34% Continuing education courses 33% Instructor-led workshops or courses 31% Online tutorials and guided programs 31% Distance learning 27% Printed materials 17% (n = 224) Note: Data sorted in descending order. Figure represents those who answered prefer more now than two years ago. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = prefer less now than two years ago and 3 = prefer more now than two years ago. Excludes employees who have not participated in skills training through their current employers and those who responded not applicable, did not receive training or education in this format two years ago to these items. Percentages do not total 100% due to multiple response options. 27

29 nn Compared with late-career workers, employees who were early in their careers preferred on-the-job training, instructor-led workshops or course formats more today than two years ago (Table 12). Early-career employees were also more likely than mid-career or late-career employees to prefer printed materials more today compared with two years ago. nn Age had an effect on preference for training and education formats, with workers aged 35 or younger more likely than their counterparts aged 55 or older to report increased preference for on-the-job training and university and college courses. 15 nn Compared with men, women were more likely to report increased preference for skills training or education delivered in instructor-led workshops or courses, online tutorials and guided program formats. 16 Table 12 Various Training and/or Education Formats Preferred More Today Compared With Two Years Ago (Employees, by Career Phase) Overall (n = 224) Early-Career Worker (1 5 Years of Experience) (n = 38) Mid-Career Worker (6 19 Years of Experience) (n = 82) Late-Career Worker (20+ Years of Experience) (n = 102) Differences by Career Phase On-the-job training 44% 69% 46% 33% Early-career > late-career Instructor-led workshops or courses 31% 49% 30% 24% Early-career > late-career Printed materials 17% 35% 15% 11% Early-career > mid-career, late-career Note: Data sorted in descending order by overall column. Table represents those who answered prefer more now than two years ago. Excludes employees who have not participated in skills training through their current employers, those with less than one year of experience and those who responded not applicable, did not receive training or education in this format two years ago to these items. Percentages are based on a scale where 1 = prefer less now than two years ago and 3 = prefer more now than two years ago. Sample sizes are based on the actual number of respondents answering the years of experience question; however, the percentages shown are based on the actual number of respondents by career phase who answered the questions using the provided response options. Only response options with statistically significant comparisons are included in this table. Skills Sharpening Resources Although it is difficult to predict the exact skills that workers will need in the future, it is certain that skills requirements will continue to evolve as the workplace changes and adapts to market innovations, new technologies and the globalization of business and labor. Much of the measurement of employees skills is initiated by the employer, but many employees self-assess their skills gaps and proficiencies. As found in this survey, employees are feeling the increased importance of adaptability/flexibility in the workplace. This is reflected in the proportions of workers who take the initiative to go beyond employer-paid or employer-provided skills training and seek additional resources to keep their skills competitive. nn Figure 10 shows that more than one-half of employees reported that they kept their skills sharp through career advice sections of news/lifestyle web sites (63%), industryspecific web sites (61%) or industry-specific publications (56%). The smallest percentages of employees reported using scientific journals (20%) or nn other resources (12%) to keep their skills sharp. 28

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